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PCL repair?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Most skiing knee injuries involve the ACL. However, what if anything can be done for a torn PCL. I have a freind who tore his 15 years ago at that time the doctors told him nothing could be done to repair it and that he could eventually expect the knee to become arthritic. Is that still the case? His knee is now starting to bother him and he is reluctant to go skiing.
post #2 of 7
What grade PCL tear did he have?
Grade 1, in which the ligament is stretched, but not torn.
Grade 2, where the PCL is partially torn.
Grade 3, in which the PCL is completely torn and instability, or looseness of the joint, occurs.
post #3 of 7
To expand on Lisamarie's questions...

Also, I'm not an orthopod but I'm someone who has unfortunately spent quite a lot of time in the company of orthopods, much of it with regard to knees.

It's relevant to know whether that ligament is stretched or competely torn because both affect the stability of the knee. If it was a Grade 1 tear, it should have healed itself long ago with little loss in overall stability. A Grade 2 might well have healed but left him with a ligament that is too long to provide complete stability to the joint. A Grade 3 would never heal and would unquestionably leave him with a knee that would be chronically susceptible to instability.

The reason stability is important is that every little minor catch or clunk that occurs in that joint ("Oh, my knee went 'out' for a minute but it's okay now.") can cause damage to the joint surfaces. Eventually (like over 15 years) that damage can lead to arthritic pain.

So IMHO your friend needs to go see a d**n good sports-medicine orthopedic surgeon. See two if he has access to them.

If he's experiencing frequent knee pain now, that pain is not going to magically go away. It's going to get worse whether he skis or not. What other fun and functional activities is he going to give up as the pain gets progressively worse over the years? Eventually, he won't want to walk out the front door in the morning.

There are probably a number of ways he could be treated, including physical therapy, joint lubricant injections, glucosamine/chondroitin, surgery, and more. Maybe a combination of all of the above.

I just hate to see someone, regardless of age, start ruling out various physical activities until they've determined that there's a sound reason for eliminating things.

Good luck to him.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
It was a completely torn grade 3 injury.
Thanks for your comments. I will pass them on.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Two more questions that I should have asked. Are the surgical procedures and recovery time simular to ACL surgary? What might they use to replace a ligament that is torn and probably gone by now?
post #6 of 7

While talking to my ortho "God" about my elbow problems, I mentioned your friend's situation. My doc's response was that PCL's are night and day different from ACL's.

He wouldn't even speculate on what might be possible without actually examining and manipulating the knee (which is kind of unusual for this particular doc because he's usually pretty willing to give me advice tidbits out of the blue). He said your friend needs to see a doc, specifically one who specializes in PCL's if at all possible.

I don't know where you or your friend live, but he said that a Dr. John Bergfeld at the Cleveland Clinic is one of the best in the country for PCL.

Also, this website has some fun info on PCL's. It doesn't exactly say what they use for a graft, but I would bet it's either a hamstring graft, a cadaver graft, or a synthetic.


post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for following up on my question as well as for your interest and concern. I really appreciate it. I have already passed on the information to my friend. Now the ball is in his court to follow through.

Lisamarie, thanks for explaining the catagories for PCL damage.

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